This article is owned by The Irish Times

Irish-founded ecommerce technology firm AYM Commerce has signed a deal with high-tech mattress startup Simba to expand its online selling in the Middle East.

Financial details of the deal are being kept under wraps, but the partnership will see AYM work with Simba to help build their ecommerce facility for the region.

AYM plans to have the Simba ecommerce product ready to launch by the end of June, which will give the company next-day delivery in the region. The premium mattress retailer was founded in 2016 and has its headquarters in London. It has built its business on a “mattress in a box” model, shipping its hybrid memory foam and spring mattresses vacuum compressed directly to customers.

Experience

Managing director and cofounder of AYM Paul Kenny said the Simba deal was significant for the company.

“I think it’s quite a significant step forward for Aym,” he said. “We’ve agreed a long term partnership that will be rewarding.”

AYM is a relatively young company, but it has significant experience behind it. Founded in 2016, AYM was created by technology entrepreneur Mr Kenny and CoderDojo co-founder James Whelton.

Mr Kenny is also a founding partner at Emerge Ventures, which focuses on high-impact early stage and Series A investments in emerging markets. Prior to AYM Commerce, he founded Dubai-based online coupon website Cobone. Mr Kenny has been working in the Middle East for 11 years, an interest that was sparked by a family holiday in 2004, but it was a chance meeting at a friend’s house in California that brought him together with Mr Whelton.

“Throughout my journey I never had someone who was really strong at technology with me, although I was always doing technology companies,” he said. “James and I happened to meet at a friend’s house in Santa Barbara.”

Mr Whelton joined Cobone in 2013 as chief technology officer, before the company’s acquisition in 2014 by investment firm Tiger Global Management.

Since then they have worked together on a number of projects – Mr Kenny on the marketing and commercial side and his cofounder on technology – and AYM Commerce came out of this.

The duo are now co-managing directors of AYM.

“Our core competence is about building out large scale companies online,” Mr Kenny said. “We’re really focused on building value for the partners we’re working on. Our approach is we want to support amazing brands in as many countries as we can, and continue doing that.”

Partnerships

It’s how it approaches this task that is slightly different from standard consultants. The firm treats its projects as partnerships, co-investing in them on a case-by-case basis.

One of AYM’s major projects was the creation of the biggest ecommerce grocery platform in the Middle East. AYM partnered with BinDawood Group, a Saudi-based retailer, to create Danube Online.

“We’re not your traditional technology company, we’re owner operators,” Mr Kenny said. “We go in like we own the company, and I think that’s why the Simba and AYM partnership is so unique.”

The latest deal itself is clear cut for Simba: it wants to grow quickly in the region, and AYM’s technology can help it achieve that.

The Middle East market offers significant opportunities for retailers. Ecommerce in the region is expected to hit $70 billion by 2020, according to a report from PayFort.

“We see AYM’s immense ecommerce experience as a key driver in supporting Simba’s rapid Middle East expansion as we seek to become the region’s sleep category leader,” said Simba chief executive James Cox.

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